Quite a contrast, which seems like a good thing to me: New Year’s Eve 2011/2012

2011 wasn’t the year I expected it to be.  But while it’s easy (and depressing) to look at what didn’t happen, one of my resolutions was to take a more asset-based thinking approach to life.  If I look at what I — and we — accomplished this year, it’s pretty impressive.


In keeping with the goal I overachieved on the most in 2011 (“spend more time with family and friends”), we decided to spend a quiet New Years Eve at home hanging out with a few people … most of whom got sick and cancelled. So it was a very low-key wrap-up to 2011 and start to 2012, quite a contrast to the last couple years.

Which seems like a good thing to me.

Time to move on

This year was the most I’ve journalled since 2004, and it’s been interesting to reread the posts as I’ve been editing DJ Anomaly at the Atrium. 2011 started out great guns, but then there were some big “pivots” both professionally and personally.

Startups are hard, and some key things really are out of my control — Google’s stubbornness on the nymwars for example. And overachieving on “friends and family” goal took a lot of time and energy. So while I did a pretty good job on my resolutions, my progress against other goals wasn’t what I had hoped. Sigh.

More positively, though, things are in a good place as we head into 2012:

  • After a lot of groping around, Qweries is on track for a minimum viable product and a killer go-to-market plan: privacy, diversity, startups, zombies, RAWRRRRRR!
  • The network of people who have heard a bit about Qweries and like the idea continues to grow.
  • While the writing I’ve been doing is far from a finished product, there’s plenty of grist for the mill for Change the World and Make Friends Doing It and no doubt some other projects.
  • Creatively, DJ Anomaly at the Atrium is the best poetry year I’ve had in a long time.
  • And most important, my connections with the people I love the most, the elements at the core of my world, continue to get richer and more magical; and new friendships are blossoming as well.

So: good progress — yay me! Still, it was a tough year – for me and a lot of my friends and family. I’m glad it’s done.

Meanwhile at the societal level, I would say much the same. It was a great year for social network activism: Arab Spring, bipartisan opposition to the Patriot Act, Save the Rave, Occupy, and SOPA. That said it was also a pretty depressing year politically, with Obama continuing to follow the Bush/Cheney lead on civil liberties, massacres in Syria and Libya, SCAF resisting change in Egypt, the crackdown on Occupy, NDAA, Iraq, Iran …

Once again, good progress, tough year. Time to move on.

A change is coming

There has never been a year like 2012, and it is unlikely that there will ever be one again.

The year that will rock the world – “21st century revolution remix”

Building on last year’s flowering of protest, 2012’s movements will have people in the streets around the world. Meanwhile we’ve got the Eurozone crisis, ugly elections in Iran, the US, and elsewhere, and the 1% trying to hold on to power. Who knows how it’ll work out but change is in the air….

I’m still not entirely sure how to invest in this megatrend, but it sure feels like it is upon us.

— Fred Wilson, 2012: The Year that Movements go Mainstream?, A VC

I’m not completely sure either, but it seems like a great time to start up a project that thinks from the beginning about use cases involving activism and movements and rights as well as monetization.  It’s also a great time for us to have been writing about changing the world and social networks for the last four years. And from an activism perspective, all kinds of exciting opportunities are shaping up!

There has never been a successful social movement – from the Suffrage Movement to the Civil Rights Movement – that was successfully sustained exclusively by those who were not at the heart of the matter.

— Carla Rover, How to play to win, Women 2.0

Speaking of movements, change is in the air in the tech world, too.

Yeah, I know, it’s always been this way.   Thus does kyriarchy reproduce itself.   But I don’t think it’s going to be sustainable that much longer.

In chaos there is opportunity

Facebook seems on top of the world, as it approaches a billion users and an IPO.  Google continues to grow despite its multi-front war against Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and its own users. But from a strategy perspective, they’re both looking vulnerable.  Meanwhile in the startup ecosystem, women, blacks, Latinos and others who haven’t had the same advantages as white guys continue to organize and network and succeed.

2011 was finally the year when the media spotlight shone on how under-represented women are in almost all power structures in business, government, technology and media – and how crucial it is that we leverage the leadership skill set that they bring to the table to tackle the problems facing the world today. The era of the patriarch is nearing an end.

— Jalak Jobanputra, A Venture Capitalist’s Take On 2011 Trends & What’s Next For 2012, Women 2.0

So it’s also a great time to be working on a  startup that’s prioritizing diversity!

See why I’m looking forward to 2012?